Book Review September '19, Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

Wow, what happened? All I knew about this book was that it was so controversial that Iran’s Supreme Leader; Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (an Islamic Legal opinion/pronouncement) that Salman Rushdie (and anyone involved in publishing this book) should be executed for blasphemy. Boy, did that cause a world-wide kerfuffle! That was over 40 years ago and the Ayatollah’s fatwa still stands.  This year I figured it was time that I found out what all the controversy is about.

 This book took me a long time to get through. The bottom line: I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. It didn’t make me mad, except for the wanky ending. It was not a book that; ‘I couldn’t wait to read another chapter(s) tonight.’ It was a book I could easily go a week or more before picking it up again.

 This book is by far the most bizarre story and style I’ve ever read. It’s written in a style/form that would make Shrunk and White go apoplectic. Some sentences run on for a page, trying to use as many grammatical markings (commas, colons, semi-colons, m-dashes, slashes, parenthesis, etc.) as possible. I understood what he was saying, but man, I would almost guess he was on meth when he penned this.

The story jumps around quite a bit, though revolving (or so it seems) around two main characters. Sometimes it gets so bizarre that I had to ask; Where the **** is he going with this? I couldn’t guess if one or both main characters where really angels or delusional schizophrenics. 

After I would discuss parts of this book with my wife, she always asked; ‘Why are you still reading it?’ Answer: I wanted to know what was so terrible about it that a religious leader would order the author to be executed. 

Somewhere in there, he does explain how Mohammed came to write the Koran and have answers, or rather confirmations of his own opinions, that came from the angel Gabriel.  Rushdie opines that Mohammed came from a distinct culture and class, and that his opinions are directly reflective of that culture. This left me asking ‘What? That’s what all the hubbub is about?’ 

Do I recommend this book? No. The part about Mohammed and the Koran is interesting, but the rest is a series of messes and confusion. 

May Book Review: Sean Costello – Squall

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**Don’t confuse this author with the blue’s musician of the same name.

I hadn’t heard of Sean Costello or his novel, Squall, when I came across it in Amazon’s ‘recommendations’. Both the title and cover caught my attention.

Having lived in Alaska for many years, seeing an airplane caught in a winter storm– that’s a story I can connect with. I was thinking ‘winter survival’, but the story wasn’t what I expected. In addition to being surprised in the first chapter, I was hooked right away on the first sentence. I knew this was a tale I was going to enjoy.

The story is both serious and humorous at the same time– a great combination. A nice, family guy, Tom Stokes is living in rural Ontario and heads out in his small plane to repair a remote hunting cabin before a storm sets in.  Meanwhile, a drug deal between rival criminal factions in Toronto has gone awry, and a chase is on. We switch back and forth following the stories and different characters until the inevitable intersection. Although there aren’t any graphic sex or violence scenes, there is the normal amount of everyday cussing – some may say it’s not suitable for children.

The characters that Sean brings to this tale are well developed, easy to visualize and spot-on captivating as the tension builds. Same for the settings, he describes each scene just enough to set the picture and the movie in your mind without dwelling on trivial details.

It’s a well-paced page-turner and a quick read, perfect for a little escape time. He’ll keep you wanting to read ‘just one more chapter.’ This novel turned me into a Sean Costello fan. I’ve gladly bought more of his books. He knows his craft well. Whether you're curling up to read at night, or looking for something to entertain you on the beach this summer, Squall is a book you’ll enjoy.

Squall available in ebook from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook and most other ebook distributors. You can also get it, and his other works, direct from his website;

www.seancostello.net

Writing a Review

I tell you, my friends; “The time has come to spread the word.”

“But it’s hard,” you say. “I don’t know where to start.”

Okay then, let me help. I can’t write it for you, but I can prod you with some ideas and I ask that you be honest.

Why?

I’m investing in advertising so I can reach a larger audience with my books. It’s the only way to increase exposure and get the Amazon algorithms to kick in and let potential readers know about my work. Amazon still rules the publishing world, so that’s best place to leave one – even if you didn’t buy it there. 

 ‘Goodreads’ is the next best place. You can search for me, Randy L Scott, or the series title: Dream Messiah. (There’s another book titled The Dream Messiah by different author). Post on Apple Books, Nook, Kobo too!

 Here’s My Suggestions

 

-Use the title of the book or series! It helps the search engines every time it gets mentioned.

 -What stands out to you in this novel? 

    -Characters, imagery, story line? 

 -What did you like or dislike about the characters?

           - ‘This person was thoughtful and wise. That one was an ass.’ 

 -Did it paint a good picture for you? 

            -Could you see the scenes, did you feel like you were there?

           - Did you feel the emotions? Did you get scared, angry or laugh?

 -Do you want more of the story? 

            -Should have ended sooner or did you want it to keep going? Did it have a satisfying ending?

 -Would it make a great movie, or would you like to listen to it as an audiobook?

          - Who can you see in the staring roles? Whose voice do you hear narrating?

 -Do you agree that this is an Action or Adventure novel?

 -Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read?

 -What age group is this suitable for?

       -  Adults only? Teens? Are the language and scenes too strong for pre-teens?

 -What is your biggest pleasure or disappointment?

        -Try not to use spoilers!

That should give you a good start. Thank you to each and every one of you who takes the time to review books.

–Randy S L

Hunting the pesky typo!

Last month I wrote a blog post for Lisa Redfern’s site: INDEPENDENT AUTHOR Business & How To's by Redfern Studio. Lisa is a multi-talented and busy woman. I hope to be involved in some of her numerous projects here in the Sierra foothills of California. I encourage you to check out her site and enjoy for yourself.

FEBRUARY 26, 2019 BY LISA REDFERN

Exterminating Breeding Typos – Guest Post – Randy L. Scott


Randy L. Scott

Randy L. Scott

Randy Scott is an independent author I’ve enjoyed visiting with at both Sierra Writers meetings and at the 2019 Sierra Writers Conference.

Randy’s guest post shares his editing process, tools, techniques, and tenacity. Randy has written and independently published three contemporary action adventure novels.

Knowing that Indies have a reputation for producing typo-riddled work, Randy’s aim is to raise reader expectations.

————

You can check it out the whole article here:

https://lisaredfern.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/exterminating-breeding-typos-guest-post-randy-l-scott/


Book Review for February '19

I reckon it’s time for me start reviewing books that I’ve enjoyed recently. I hope it inspires you to review books and authors too. Spread the word, my friends and stay literate!

Magnificant Vibration imgage.jpg


Magnificent Vibration by Rick Springfield

I received this novel as a gift from a friend who knows my taste in stories. I knew of Rick Springfield as both a musician and actor and am now pleasantly surprised to find him a great storyteller and author. 

Magnificent Vibration is a short, easy to read novel which asks (and answers) the questions: Why are we here? What is love? Does God send text messages to special people? 

His main character, Bobby Cotton tells us his story while jumping back and forth from childhood memories to the present action and consequences when he steals a book called Magnificent Vibration. Bobby recalls his experiences growing up with religion and discovering his sexuality–which brings us to the second main character; Bobby’s penis, Woody. This character has a mind of its own and more often than not, wants to take charge in this comedic story. 

In the present day, Bobby is down on his luck, recently divorced and working a shitty job. The adventure begins when Bobby dials the phone number scribbled inside the book he’s just stolen. Turns out it’s the hot line to the smart aleck, wise-crackin’ OSB–Omnipotent Supreme Being. Bobby of course has a hard time believing and wrapping his head around this.

It’s not long before he encounters two others; one, a sexy nun named Alice, the second, a giant of a man, Lexington Vargas. The one thing they share in common is the book Magnificent Vibration. The three of them are now locked together to find out why God has chosen to speak to them both on the phone and through a book about themselves.

 Every good adventure story has to include death, and the passing of a fisherman on Loch Ness throws another hook into this tale. It seems the Grim Reaper is just getting started as hundreds die in a plane crash and our trio is running scared. 

I didn’t see the ending coming. He pulled it off well. I mean the ending! Not Woody!

-Randy S L

Don't Sweat...

Don't Sweat...

Publishing update:

There’s been a lot of small stuff lately–all due to my self-imposed deadlines, leaving me wondering how many balls I can keep in the air.

First off: Freedom – Just Another Word, is live and on the market. I’m still offering the ebook for free here my website.

If you would prefer to pay (I’d love you twice as much!), you can pick up the ebook from Amazon, iBooks, Nook and a dozen other distributers for only 99 cents!  

This link https://www.books2read.com/u/47Zwljwill show and take you to your favorite market, except Amazon.  

The paperback weighing in at 510 pages, is $17.91 from Amazon. I’d love to discount it, but Amazon sets the price and I don’t have any say.  I must say, it looks and feels good in my hands! http://www.amazon.com/dp/1718157118

Thank you to all who’ve already gotten a copy. Please take a few minutes to leave a review on the site where you purchased it. It you downloaded it for free, please leave your review on Amazon and any other ebook sellers wherever you can.

 

This Saturday, Oct 20th, 2018 I’ll be at the Local Authors Showcase, at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City, CA from 11am to 2pm to showcase my book, make some sales and to chat about my inspirations and the writing process. I hope to see you NC/GV locals there. 

There’s a lot more I would have liked to do in preparation for the book launch but in the spirit of being in this for the ‘long game,’ I’m not sweating it. 

Most of my efforts right now are into the re-write/developmental edits on Book 3, Commencement–Will the Circle be Unbroken…  It’s due to my line editor the first week of November. Tick-tock the clock is racing! Once I have that under control, I’ll implement the corrections my proof reader sent me for Book 2, Into the Fire–Where it Gets Real. Book 2 is still up, for free for ARC (Advanced Reader Copy, hoping you’ll leave a review). However, even if you’ve downloaded it, if you haven’t started, I would wait until I put up the proof-corrected version. You’ll get a much cleaner copy. 

I set up an Instagram account a while back but hadn’t posted anything. I’m going to be active now. I’ll post a bunch of pics from our road trip last week. I want to use one of them for my back cover photo on Book 2. I’ll put up a gallery and take your (my followers) input on which pic you think is best.

Once again, thanks for following along. More details coming this week. – Randy L

 

 

Two Tramps in Mud Time

I used a quote from this poem by Robert Frost in the footer in my "About Me" page. I've used and lived by this quote (though I changed it a bit) since I first heard it in a presentation by Dewitt Jones many years ago. (note at end of this blog) The slightly altered version I use is;

My aim in life is to unite my avocation with my vocation,

as my two eyes make one in sight.

I like to explain and demonstrate this pearl using my hands and the metaphor of archery. Stretch one arm out in from of you with your index finger pointing straight up. If you focus on that finger, you'll only see that one finger. If you shift your focus to the distance, now you'll see the illusion of two fingers. In archery, as in most 'shooting' sports, it is best to keep both eyes open even though the tendency is to close your non-dominant eye.

For my demo, I start with both arms stretched to my sides. I bring them together outstretched in front of me. Keeping one in hand in front, I draw the other back to my cheek as if I am aiming an arrow to a distant target that I'm seeing with both eyes open. And that's it! I'm aiming towards my goal with my two eyes making the target focused in sight.

Now here's what I love even more; When language/words/definitions come together to reinforce our minds and determination. There's another term from archery; Sin. It means to miss the mark. 

When you let that arrow fly, your either going to hit your mark or your going to miss it. That's right, to miss your mark is to sin. Does that jive with your biblical interpretation? I reckon it does. Think about that when someone refers to 'sinners.' Sinners are simply people who've missed their mark. Maybe because they haven't been taught the proper technique for handling a bow. Maybe they aren't keeping their eyes open, or they jerk/flinch when they let go the arrow. Maybe they set unrealistic goals by shooting for targets far beyond their means or ability level.

When I start to practice with my bow, I use a large target, pretty close up. When my skills are proficient, I'll move the target back and shoot for a smaller bulls-eye until I know the limits of my bow, my arrows and my skills. I hate losing arrows!

What's the penalty for missing the mark - for committing a sin? Eternal damnation? Not in my book. Humiliation, whether from others or self-imposed, is the usually the punishment. And lost arrows. Dang things are expensive.

Now as for my avocation; What is it I'm good at and what do I for the love of it? My aim in life is to take that activity, that love of doing, that avocation – and make it into my vocation, my means of making a living, whether for money or simply the reward of enjoying my time and life – as my two eyes make one in sight. Telling stories and making music, I reckon that's it for me. That's why I'm doing all this. Livin' the dream, baby! 

How about you?

Up and running

The Blog – My ramblings about the life of an author. I've finished (mostly) my 3 book series Dream Messiah. I made it to the point where I wrote 'the End' a while ago. It has gone to the first stage of Developmental Editing. When I have that cleaned up and polished it will go for Line Editing where the spelling, grammar and style gets honed. Then back once more for a proof-read. Boom, then it's done – kinda. There's still a mountain of tasks before me. Building this website for instance. I still need to get book covers, gather a mailing list and start marketing, get my business license and an accountant, get some of my older short stories cleaned up and formatted to give away, then I will post to Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and more – unless I decide to go with Amazon exclusive. Don't forget about the audio versions! On and on it goes. At the same time, I need to be cranking on the next book already. Writing is not just writing anymore. I've got to learn to manage this as a business.

Fortunately I've met with a good crowd, my new tribe, who've tread the path before me. I've been studying, listening to podcasts and watching YouTube about this process for a couple years now. One thing is for certain; it keeps changing. I'll pass on my favorite sources of information, my likes and dislikes of the teachers and courses. 

Some of you may be wanting to publish your own stories and books. Many of you have family members and friends who want to publish. Follow my journey and learn from my successes and mistakes. Yes, there are always mistakes. Money will be spent with no quick return on investment. In the end, the gains will out weigh the losses. I'll be earning some income doing something I love, and you, my readers will be entertained for a while. Hopefully some of you will be inspired.

So grab a cup of coffee, a glass of ice tea, juice or wine, a beer or a scotch and come on along for the ride. Don't worry, you can drink and drive on this road trip. If you've already been down this path - for god's sake let me know how it was for you. What did you learn? Feedback is always welcome.

Retirement?

Today is the first day of my official retirement. Oh yeah? Well... sort of. On Friday I worked my last day as a full time employee. I'll still put in a few more daze to help them (the old employer and our community) as a per diem worker before I move to join my wife, Susan, who's already started her new job in the foothills of the Sierras. It's not a done deal yet – but I'll probably be working a little per diem down there too. Two to four days a month and helping them with vacation coverage would be perfect for me.

It should provide a good balance of keeping me active and social while still producing some income. This life of an author is going to see a lot of money going out before any starts coming back in. Writing is a solitary endeavor with lots of hours in a seat in front of a computer. 

I'll also be pursuing my other alt career as an audio engineer – once again lots of time sitting in front of a computer or a microphone for voice over and narration. In addition to narrating my own series of books and short stories, I'll put my voice up for hire. I'll stick to book narration and documentaries (I'm sure Mike Rowe is shaking in his boots when hearing this). I'm really not interested in doing commercials - unless it's for causes I truly endorse.

The other leg of audio engineering encompasses everything from mixing live sound for bands, recording (anything from single singer/songwriters to bands, full on choruses or orchestras and sound effects - foley), then mixing the tracks to a final version for mastering. I've already been volunteered, by my wife, to help the local concert association with their shows. Right now I don't know if that means ushering or stage monkey (set-up/tear down) or helping run the sound board.

Yeah, I'll be busy. At least I won't have to worry about mowing the lawn or yard work at our new house. It sits in the trees with natural understory flora. 

Meanwhile back here at the ranch... I'm still packing up the house and keeping it clean for showings until we get it sold. I'll make a few trips with a trailer and rent a moving van to get all our stuff to the new place. Then I get to set up my studio for writing and audio work. 

It will take a few months at least for the dust to settle and I get into my new rhythm. I'll keep you posted and I'll put up a page of the resources I've been using to get educated in these fields.